CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday
that lessons would be gleaned from “the current unfortunate
episode” in relation to the growing anxiety over the social
The government will
ensure that there is no recurrence, Zuma told MPs in his first
parliamentary appearance this year.
Zuma was responding
to a question about what steps he intends to take against
Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini, who has
allegedly led her department into a national grant pay-out
crisis, putting the lives of the most vulnerable citizens at
risk and allegedly showing a complete disregard for the rule of
There have been
speculations that no grants will be paid to about 17 million
pensioners next month after the government failed to set up the
legal mechanism to distribute the grants.
The issue has
rattled the country, with political parties, labor unions,
non-governmental organizations and ordinary South Africans
calling for the sacking of Dlamini.
Zuma rejected calls
for Dlamini to resign, saying there was no reason to fire her
before “anything has happened”.
“This is another
kind of democracy that if you expect someone is going to make a
mistake or is going to fail, that person must be punished before
it happens. It’s a funny democracy,” he said.
Zuma said the
government is doing everything possible to ensure that there are
no interruptions to the normal process of paying social grants
to beneficiaries at the end of this month.
“As government we
will ensure that a sustainable payment solution is found which
is compliant with our black economic empowerment imperatives,”
The solution must
also help ensure that fraud and corruption do not take place in
the social grants payment system, he added.
A contract between
the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Cash
Paymaster Services (CPS) for the grant distribution has been
declared illegal by the Constitutional Court.
Pravin Gordhan said earlier his department would give the
go-ahead to sign with the CPS, only if the Constitutional Court
approved the deal.
The CPS wants the
Court to order that it enters into a new and “lawful” contract
with the SASSA after the existing contract expires on March 31.
Early this month,
the court reserved judgment in the SASSA and CPS saga, fueling
anxiety over the grant payment.
The Court failed to get an
answer from the CPS about how much it will charge for
distributing social grants if it concludes a new contract with
The Court ordered
the Department of Social Development to explain why its agency
SASSA failed to meet a deadline to secure another service
provider to distribute social grants.
Court ruling settles South
African social grant saga
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruled on
Friday that Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) can continue paying
social grants to millions of eligible beneficiaries for another
12 months, settling a dispute that had rattled the country.
The Court ruled that CPS and the South African Social
Security Agency (SASSA) must continue paying social grants until
another entity which can do so is found.
The ruling drew immediate welcome from the government which
described the order as "indicative of a progressive democratic
"Government accepts unconditionally the judgment and
directives of the Constitutional Court," Minister in the
Presidency Jeff Radebe said.
Beneficiaries can rest assured that social grants will be
paid on April 1, 2017, he said.
A ministerial task team, set up to address the matter, will
study the judgment with a view of implementing the ruling, and
together with a technical team will ensure the smooth transition
of grant payments following the 12 month renewal period, said
South Africa’s social assistance programme remains an
important safety net for millions of people, Radebe said.
All dedicated resources and expertise needed to ensure the
smooth payment of social grants will be put in place, he
The ruling put to rest speculations that no grants would be
paid to about 17 million pensioners next month after the
government failed to set up the legal mechanism to distribute
A contract between the SASSA and CPS for the grant
distribution had been declared illegal by the ConCourt years
But in Friday’s ruling, the Court said the declaration of the
invalidity of the previous contract between the SASSA and CPS
would be suspended for 12 months.
The terms and conditions in the previous contract would
continue to apply, according to the ruling.
The CPS had asked the Court to allow it to enter into a new
and "lawful" contract with the SASSA after the existing contract
expires on March 31.
Early this month, the Court reserved judgment in the SASSA
and CPS saga, fueling anxiety over the grant payment.
The Court then failed to get an answer from the CPS about how
much it would charge for distributing social grants if it
concludes a new contract with the SASSA.
If CPS wanted to change how much it got paid, it could
approach National Treasury, according to the new ruling.
Even after the ruling, the Democratic Alliance (DA) continued
to press Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini to
"What is clear is that the minister has been directly
responsible for the crisis," the DA said.
Dlamini has come under fire for allegedly leading her
department into a national grant pay-out crisis, thus putting
the lives of the most vulnerable citizens at risk.
South African opposition leader
in trouble for praising colonialism
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) --
An opposition political party leader in South
Africa is now facing disciplinary action for praising
colonialism on Thursday.
Helen Zille, Premier
of Western Cape province who is from the opposition, Democratic
Alliance (DA) posted on twitter praising colonialism on
In her tweets, Zille
said, “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was only
negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport
infrastructure, piped water.”
“Would we have had a
transition into specialized health care and medication without
"Just be honest, please,” she noted.
The leader of the DA
Mmusi Maimane then referred Zille to the Federal Legal
Commission for investigation and reprimand.
DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme distanced the party from the tweets of Zille
who is the former leader of the party.
“Colonialism, like Apartheid, was wrong.
"It oppressed millions
of people and violated human rights in a cruel and inhumane way.
"Colonialism, like Apartheid, is in every single way against our
cherished values of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.”
Van Damme said they
are committed to redressing the wrongs of the past and building
a united South Africa with one destiny.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) criticized Zille calling her
statements racists and anti-blacks.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni
Ndlozi rejected the apology offered by Zille.
“We call on the DA
to remove Zille from premiership following these comments as
they demonstrate that she has no appreciation for our democratic
"She has proven that she cannot be entrusted with
public office, in defense of our Constitution.
"No one, from a
public office of our hard won constitutional democratic state
must be allowed to freely express such cold hearted racism,” Ndlozi said.
EFF called for the
DA to take a decisive stance and prove that they do not condone
colonialism by firing Zille.
Ndlozi said the statements are not
expected of a senior government official like Zille.
“ It is a fact that
many racist white people sit on dinner tables when black people
are not there and express their cold hearted racism, this is
what Helen Zille truly is, a cold hearted racist who believes
that colonialism, which was crime against the humanity of black
people, is not a bad thing,” Ndlozi added.
The Congress of
South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) also condemned Zille’s
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said it is an insult
to the black people to glorify and idealize the dark past of
this country (colonialism) that left many black people dead or
“Colonialism was not
about civilizing the natives as she seems to suggest but was
about subjugating and killing our people and plundering the
resources of our continent.
"This period represented a dark and
painful past for black people and these kinds of statements are
an insult to many black heroes and heroines, who shed blood to
fight colonialism and apartheid.” Pamla said.